Sunday, 15 February 2009

John and Faith Hubley "Windy Day"

I noticed in passing that I have made 800 posts, this new one being 8001. Windy Day (1967) is a pleasant means of achieving a landmark. Georgia and Emily Hubley were taped making their observations on life in general - with all the wisdom of very young children they reflect on birth, death and marriage, devise plays, poke dead fish and generally roam their garden in what seems perpetual sunshine. It need hardly be mentioned that the impeccant dialogue is improvised; it meanders as tardily as a river in a flood plain delivered in a natural fashion that is picked up by the animators under the direction of John and Faith Hubley. If the dialogue is natural, so is the artwork and animation. There is a freshness of imagery that retains its crispness to this day. The girl sniffs flowers, wisps of colour waved in front of her like a child stagehand wielding props at a school play; they clamour onto an outside table the contents of which are rich reds to match trees, shack and children; or we see them move, grey colour washes on an almost blank canvas with only impressionistic reeds and grasses in the foreground. The prince, dragon, witch, knight and giant bunny are the products of a child's fertile imagination by proxy: mum and dad creating the images to match the world of their talented progeny. Windy Day was unsurprisingly nominated for an Academy Award; personally I prefer it to their Oscar winning classic Moonbird. Alongside the Hubleys, Barrie Nelson is credited with the animation, Sara Calogero and Nina Di Gangi for their character painting. And yes, there is an adult for one fleeting second as one catches a glimpse of mum hanging out her washing as the children bounce along, forces of nature in an idyllic landscape of home: "Yes we do" they chant. Lovely.

1 comment:

Michael Taylor said...

I first saw "Windy Day" while studying film at a distinctly non-film school -- UC Santa Cruz, in California -- in the early 70's. It left an indelible impression, a wonderful film that manages to capture the very essence of childhood.

Great film, great post. Thanks.